The term employee assistance program refers to a benefit that provides a confidential source of help for an employee or a family member. Employee assistance programs help to solve personal problems that have grown to the point where they affect an individual's ability to function properly at work or at home.
Also known as an EAP, companies sponsor employee assistance programs to help their employees with problems that occur outside of the workplace. For example, an EAP may provide services to help with stress caused by family difficulties, relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, debt, legal problems, childcare and eldercare issues.
EAPs usually include a source of short-term counseling services for both the employee and their immediate family members. Services are typically free for the employee. They are also provided in a confidential manner, even when employees are referred to the EAP by their supervisor for poor performance.
Employee assistance programs are designed to offer near term help with problems that might be affecting the person's ability to function at work, home, or in society. Services are provided through skilled and experienced professionals. Referrals are usually offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via a toll free number.